Last Tuesday Food Network’s Eat St. came to Austin to kickoff their five-trucks-in-five-days profile of Austin’s mobile food scene. They’re here filming for Season 2 of their show, after having already profiled ChiLantro BBQ and Lucky J’s last year for Season 1. Their first stop was at the Jalopy Rotisserie and Press, profiling Nic, his truck, and his delicious food. Lucky for me I was able to swing by and even make an on-camera appearance!
The first thing I noticed was how low-profile the whole operation was. I walked up to the Jalopy truck and saw the normal (long) lunch crowd lined up at the window. I then saw a guy with a boom mic and another with a big digital camera. There was no studio audience, no production truck, no director yelling “CUT!”. It was a small, flexible operation that went with the flow rather than scripting the Jalopy’s lunch service. I found the whole operation surprisingly nondescript and, for lack of a better word*, intimate.
The crew was interviewing and filming diners about the truck, the food, the owner, and the location. I learned that they were trying to cover as many of the sandwiches off the menu as possible, so they gently guided some patrons’ menu decisions, mine included. Per the show’s request, and nothing else immediately jumping out at me, I ordered the Folletto, composed of pepperoncini brine, housemade pickled peppers, scallions, and parsley salad.
I’ll be honest, the Folletto didn’t sound particularly special when they mentioned it. I was a bit apprehensive about ordering it, wondering what I’d do if I took a bite, my face 2 inches from the camera, and it wasn’t great. Then what? Fake it? Could I.. Would I deceive America like that? Turns out it was a non-issue. The sandwich was lights-out good. It was perfectly spicy and tangy with great chicken on fantastical bread. One side was still toasty, the other a little soft from steam in the foil wrapper. Amazing!
Like I told the camera, my favorite sandwich at The Jalopy is whatever I last ordered. I answered questions like “What makes this truck different from others?” and “Tell me about this location.” I’m looking forward to seeing the episode in its final version, though I fear that won’t be for quite some time. The crew was on site filming in Austin in preparation for Season 2 of the show; currently it’s still airing new episodes of Season 1. In any event, I’ll keep you posted if I hear when I strike it big!
*I’m an engineer people, cut me some slack.